Class of 1979
Where do you currently live?
I currently live in Richmond, VA with my wife Monique and our three children. Isabelle is 9, Abigail is about to turn 3 and our son J.J. is just over a year. We have a German Shepard named Freedom and Yellow Lab named Liberty.
What is your current job/profession?
I am the Founder and President of NationsClassroom. NationsClassroom is a student tour provider focusing on educational tours of the historic East Coast. We are currently completing our 10th year and our 2020 Vision is to impact and inspire 10,000 students in 2020 while being recognized as one of Virginia’s greatest places to work.
What was your educational path after graduating from St. Mary School?
I graduated from Foran High School and then from Southern Connecticut with an undergraduate degree in Sports Management. After Southern, I attended Ohio University for Graduate School to study Sports Administration.
What, if any, volunteer or charity efforts are you currently involved with?
With a growing business and a young family currently my volunteering is limited to coaching my 9 year old’s basketball team. My wife and I try to support institutions and causes that we believe in much as possible including St. Mary School.
How do you feel SMS prepared you academically?
Quite frankly, I was struggling both academically and socially when I started in SMS as a third grader. Certainly nothing against the public schools, but for me I needed the extra attention and discipline that SMS provided. SMS gave me a strong foundation across the board to succeed at both Foran and Southern.
More challenging was to gain admission and then to succeed in the highest rated Graduate Sports Administration program at Ohio U. There were over 500 applicants and less than 30 of us accepted. The graduate acceptance relied on my college grades, GRE test scores, writing samples and then self-assuredness in a very difficult interview process. I attribute a large part of my success in each one strongly to my formative years at SMS.
Do you feel SMS provided you with a foundation for your future? If so, in what ways?
How much time do you have? SMS for me was great in that the teachers cared enough about us and had the freedom to only accept our best. Our teachers set high standards and gave us maximum support in achieving them. Often I was out of my comfort zone. As I have gone through life, this experience has proven very beneficial by giving me confidence to chase my dreams and to enjoy tackling challenges.
Also, we travelled very often. Philadelphia, Mystic Seaport and the Mark Twain House are some trips that I remember the most fondly. These trips really helped to stretch me as well as gain enthusiasm about what we were studying in class. I didn’t know it at the time, but they would also be the seedbed for my life’s calling of impacting and inspiring students through travel.
Of course of greatest importance, was being “trained up as a child” in the development of my faith. First, was the stress that was placed on striving to be Christlike and then of course having our faith as our source of contentment through both the highs and the lows that we all go through. Getting so much of the Gospel “hidden in my heart” at such a young and impressionable age has proven to be so imperative to me.
What are some of your favorite memories of SMS?
There were so many. Celebrating First Friday Mass and then having the rest of the day off was always great. Just simple stuff in the classroom, on the playground or at practice with my friends. The SMS basketball tournament was so special. Basketball was my first love. and it was so wonderful to participate in our own version of March Madness. The entire school and church community would rally around us, even with the Priests praying for us at Mass half-jokingly.
What advice can you give to our students?
Treasure it! Treasure the experience and the opportunity. It is a very special place. Oh, and thank their parents, faculty and staff for everything that they do to make it so.